Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Azevedo

Paula J. Azevedo

Principal, dash design

Paula J. Azevedo, Principal of dash design’s Miami office, hospitality believes design is a celebration of life and its many textures. “Our environments inspire us. The places I’ve lived, the people I’ve met, where I’ve traveled—all of that influences my design approach” she says. “It’s a discovery process, and I carry those experiences forward, gaining new perspectives, understanding and relevant design ideas.” Ms. Azevedo brings over 20 years of interior and architectural design experience, an extensive, nuanced understanding of the hospitality business, and a passion for collaboration and cultivating young talent. “Our best design work happens when clients and the creative team collaborate, resulting in an end product that is on point and innovative,” Ms. Azevedo says. “It’s all about strategic thinking and understanding the details.” Prior to working at dash design, Ms. Azevedo was Principal of her own collaborative design consulting firm at pja Create Studios. The firm flourished under her client service, original design and keen business commitment. There, she oversaw luxury hospitality hotels and spas, destination resorts and multifaceted commercial projects. As a Design Director at Gettys, Ms. Azevedo helped build the Miami office and establish its South Florida presence. As part of the senior leadership, she contributed to the growth and development of the design team. To projects throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America, Ms. Azevedo brought trademark rigor, practiced problem solving, and inspired, big-picture concepts. She oversaw such noteworthy design projects as the Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne, Florida; Hard Rock Hotel & Resort in Punta Cana, DR and Cancun, Mexico, among others. Ms. Azevedo holds a Bachelors of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University, and is certified through the National Council for Independent Design Qualification (NCIDQ). She is a licensed interior designer with the State of Florida, as well as a professional member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Ms. Azevedo understands green building design, and is a LEED® AP. She is a former adjunct professor at Miami Dade College. Please visit www.dashdesign.net for more information.

Ms. Azevedo can be contacted at 305-809-6155 or pazevedo@dashdesign.net

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.